James convinced me not to take a bath and we jumped in the car. I remember him calling his parents and telling them we were on our way. I was still in complete denial and made them promise not to tell anyone until we knew I was for sure in labor. He hung up and I said "If I am not at least at a 3 when I get there I will never make it without an epidural." I was in so much pain. So so much pain.
As we got closer James started taking video as we pulled up to the hospital. In my head I was thinking 'are you kidding me right now?' He was so excited. We pulled up and found the labor parking. James ran in to make sure it was the right spot. It was still freezing for Charlotte. I remember waddling in and more than one person offering me a wheelchair. James chuckled and declined for me. He knew I would want to keep walking to help labor. We checked in at the front desk and were directed to the triage section. I bent over in pain and the woman at the desk said "oh honey, you got this." And away we went. When we got in the elevator James started crying. It was a big day.
James took a photo of the clock as I signed in. It was 7:48 pm. The nurses took me back and said they needed a sample. Everyone seemed to be moving in slow motion. Without any shame I asked if James could help me as I put on my hospital gown and peed in a cup. I remember looking at him and crying because I loved him so much. I was definitely at my least attractive state, ever. And here I was with no shame asking him to help me rub my back and put my gown on. This is why I love natural labor. Never before have I felt so close to James.
I remember coming back into the room. They read me my stats - name, doctor, etc. And then the bomb last weight at the doctor! I was like, oh wow! I haven't been looking, but thanks for that. Definitely gained a solid 15 to 18 pounds more this time around. I tried to shake it off and have a good laugh. No turning back now.
I got on the bed and asked the nurses if they could please check me. Semi annoyed the nurse did and then quickly left the room to get another nurse to double check. I was dilated to an 8.5. I was beyond shocked. And also so so so relieved. I cried serious tears of joy. I was going to make it! We quickly texted his family and my family on our Staples7 thread. Everyone was so excited. Katie sent sweet texts about delivery and then Mary said, "enjoy your trip to heaven tonight. We are jealous." James and I both got really emotional and locked eyes. Remembering just how spiritual these moments are. From there things started happening extremely fast, as they realized I wasn't exaggerating my discomfort. I told them to put a port in my arm just in case I needed a c-section. Even though I don't do an IV I just like to be all set - I don't want my desire to go natural to interfere with any medical emergencies. They assured me there was no time for a port and I was definitely not going to need a c-section. I asked if I could walk to the delivery room. I am a huge believer in walking while in labor as it helps distract me and moves the baby down. Laughing the nurse said, "Ummm you can't even stand up till we get there. This baby will fall out." We all had a good laugh as they wheeled me on up.
At this point I still wanted to stand. I met my sweet nurse Kimberly. James' number 1 job is to comfort me and number 2 is to make friends with the nurses and keep them happy, it makes everything easier on everyone. Kimberly was amazing. As I am standing I tell her again, I think I need to go to the bathroom. She checks me. You're at a 9. Call the doctor. The room was a flurry as I bent over to breath. James begged a nurse to take photos. I didn't even have a monitor this time which was awesome and helped me more comfortably labor. The pain was so intense and much lower this time. I don't seem to scream during labor, just kind of arghhh. Everyone was peppy around me and I was glad James kept the mood happy. They even brought in a labor ball. I definitely didn't have that with Annie.
Things got a bit frantic here. My doctor (who luckily happened to be on call that night) couldn't be found anywhere. I was really wanting to push. I remember trying to hold the baby in at this point. I was nervous. And then suddenly I was like, "I NEED TO PUSH." The nurse tells me to quickly get on the bed and then yelled "Just get ANY doctor in here!" Nurses started pouring in. I asked if everything was ok. Kimberly said yes, but we want a lot of nurses because I might deliver this baby. She checked me while I knelt on the bed so James could rub my back. It was so nice no one made me lay or sit the entire time in the labor room. You're crowning she said. And bam. Dr. Bijwani walked in the door. I remember him saying "hey kiddo! Lets do this!" He was so reassuring. I had been in the labor room for less than 10 minutes at this point.
I flipped over. They put the stirrups in and I remember thinking there is NO WAY this is happening so fast. The doctor slipped his gloves on. At this point everyone was smiling - there were still about 15 nurses in there. They asked if they could stay to watch and we said yes. My water still hadn't broken. It was the same thing with Annie. Kimberly begged the doctor to not pop it. She later explained that some babies come out in the sac and then it pops as the baby exits the birth canal. She said doctors don't love to do it as it can make them a bit messy but the doctor definitely thought about it and then went ahead and popped it. That was a huge instant relief in and of itself. He then asked me to push. Both labors I want to curse the world for only talking about the pain of contractions. Screw contractions. Pushing is so dang painful! It's the kind of pain where you know you are making progress. But oh man, ouch! One push down and with the second push James said "he has hair!" And I am like "you can see his hair?"I remember my legs shaking like crazy as usual. On the second push out came his head! The relief and sudden loss of pressure that had been there for MONTHS was so instantaneous. "His head is out PUSH!" And then my favorite part when you just feel them slip and tumble right on out. It was 8:28 pm. I had just checked into the hospital exactly 40 minutes prior.
And just like that there he was! James was already bawling! My adrenalin was going so fast. With both babies I am amazed that the pain is immediately gone. I just had the biggest grin on my face. Jimmy's cry was instantly noticeably quieter than Annie's. James cut the chord. They wiped Jimmy off and placed him on my chest. I was still out of breath and just gushing over him. I kept saying "he is so tiny! He is way smaller than Annie was, right!"And then he completely stopped crying. All on his own. We have video of all of this as I am like "wait, why is he stopping! Is he ok?" And the nurse is totally calm. Says he is completely fine. Instantly, Jimmy could calm himself. I am telling you. They come how they come. It was wild to see the difference between Jimmy and Annie just at birth and James and I both noticed it right away. As we gushed over him James continued to say "you did it sweetie, you did it" while stroking my hair. These sweet moments are the most sacred of my entire life. The crazy, difficulty of labor is so spiritual as it quickly ends in an eternal and celestial feeling with a baby on your chest. The pain is instantly gone and the reward is better than anyone could ever describe. Doing all of this with just my husband by my side is something that has bound us together forever. I keep trying to make the broad analogy that labor and pregnancy seem a little like our time on earth. As I imagine a sudden and instant relief and pure, real joy when we get to the other side.
We keep watching this video back. James says "That was awesome!" And the doctor says. "Yes, that was fun!" He topically numbed me and did a few small stitches. He kept saying how great and fast it all was. Although he was only in the room for about 30 minutes max, I really really loved my time with this doctor. He was calming and thought it was amazing how James and I could manager this together. He was loving and made me feel so wonderful about the decision not to have an epidural. He said it was one of his funnest deliveries and though I am certain he was just trying to make me feel good... it did just that!
I held Jimmy and then they quickly washed him up. He weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces and was 20 inches long. He definitely was not smaller than his sister. You just forget how tiny they are. They ran their few quick tests and all left the room so we could have our time. I loved this. James and I gushed over our new baby boy. From the first second Jimmy was a special spirit for us. His pregnancy was full of trials and loss. It was hard on me physically as I gained more weight and he sat extremely low. Emotionally it tried me as I had a lot of travel and a lot of tears during all of this. But here he was. He was perfect and sweet. He had a light in his eyes and I could almost perfectly imagine his send off from the sweet spirits in heaven. A dear friend once said that she believes newborns pass back and forth through the veil for a time. I am not sure that this is doctrinally correct but I believe they are oh so close to the other side. Having that in my arms after so much loss brought great peace to the room as we snuggled and nursed our sweet boy. He represented all that was good and right in the world. It truly was a short visit to heaven.
After about 45 minutes Kimberly returned. It was time to me to go to the postpartum floor. I was so sad to leave this wonderful, loving nurse. She took a few more photos of us and was nice enough to let me hold my baby and walk for a bit. With both Jimmy and Annie I have really wanted to walk out of the room holding my babe, since I can still feel and use my legs. It's against hospital policy as you might fall but Kimberly was nice enough to let me do my victory walk for a small jaunt before forcing me into a wheelchair.
We said goodbye to our delivery team and snuggled into our new room. It was now only about 9:30 pm. We were amazed. Just 2 hours before we had left our house and we were already in recovery. We relished all of these moments. Texted friends and family and then snuggled in to get some rest. I remember being so worried that delivery and birth wouldn't be as great the second time. But sure enough, it was. Nothing, absolutely nothing will beat those first moments holding your new baby. There is a difference between fun and true joy. This is the truest form. Welcome to the world James Clarence Barker III. From your first moments on earth you were content, sweet and our little bundle of happiness. Thanks for bringing light to our dark days. We love you!